cycling

#TBT…One year on…

So how did YOUR year go?

Mine? Well let me see…

On October 29th 2014 I went through the 2nd most complicated heart surgery…AKA The Benthal Procedure:

General anaesthetic, body temp lowered to 18 degrees C, Blood & Lung machine plugged in, breastbone split into two, chest open, heart opened, Aorta disconnected, Aortic valve removed and replaced with a mechanical one, Aortic root replaced with a Dacron sleeve, Coronary arteries reconnected, heart restarted, chest cavity stitched, breastbone glued and clamped and after 7 hours on the table, chest was closed…

Was it fun? I have no idea because I was asleep…I only remember waking up in the High Dependency Unit a few hours later.

Was hospital fun? Err…NO!!!! It was horrible, by far the worst experience I have ever had!!!

4 days in hospital with a bunch of tubes stuck in my hands and neck and a few more coming out of my chest, and a catheter…oh and lots and lots of drugs. I could not eat anything, It was hot, sweaty, the continuous chatter of the men around me was annoying.

Then they pulled the wires and tubes out. Wires were there in case they needed to fit a pacemaker, so where they decided it was not needed, they pulled them out…and that 1/4″ tube that was collecting fluids was a tough one to get out…

While I was still heavily drugged, the surgeon came in and said something about me being lucky…I was too dosed to enter a conversation so when he came in a gain the day after, I asked him what was it all about. He then explained that when the took the old aortic root out, it already had a small tear in it! In simple word this is called aneurism…except that in my case, by some miracle, it did not burst!

i also lost my voice…completely! It took nearly 2 months (!) to get it back. If you know me, I like to talk, a lot…so not being able to was not fun at all.

And then recovery…walking, walking, some more walking, then turbo-trainer in the freezing garage, initially just staring at the walls and then adding an iPad for entertainment. Then some jogging and 11 weeks after surgery, on the day, I went out on my road bike for the first time.

We knew that this operation was unavoidable and once this was established, we decided to do it ASAP. I did have some time to prepare physically so that I am in the best shape possible, which, as we learned, was key to a fast recovery.

However I did not have too much time to prepare mentally…I was busy with work, travel, family stuff and obviously training. On the day before the operation I did, what I then considered to possibly be my last ride ever…I stopped at one of my favourite spots and prepared a set of short videos for my family; one for each child, one for my wife Yael and one for them together…essentially saying goodbye and giving them some practical advice…sounds corny I know but that was the best I could think of at that point.

One we’ll sit down and watch those videos, with a smile I hope:-)

And today when I look back at last 12 months I can almost say “What was all the fuss about?”

Yes those 4 days at the hospital were terrible

Yes the first 5 weeks of recovery were a nightmare

Yes I still do a blood test every 3-4 weeks and I take Warfarin every evening between 6pm-6:30pm, with a whole glass of water and I use an app to track and monitor it. I also read and learn about new and future medical developments that at some point will make my life easier.

Yes I have to watch my diet carefully, avoiding high levels of vitamin K (didn’t even know it existed before the op), I cannot drink alcohol (well I can but then I’ll have to adjust the medication dose which takes months)

Yes I still cannot sleep properly and I have a frozen shoulder which is painful & that requires regular physiotherapy and may require surgery if that doesn’t cure it.

But

  

Paris, Sept’ 7th 2015; Giles House (Left) and myself arriving at the #BHFL2P 2015 finishing line

I can now cycle and run longer and faster than before (like riding 477km from London to Paris, in 3.5 days, with my friend Giles and in support for the BHF). I can work, I travel, I play with my kids and I can hug my wife Yael, and I know that what nearly happened before the operation, will never happen. It is now 6am, still dark and I am celebrating by getting out on the bike before another busy day starts 🙂

2nd Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

2nd Beach, Olympic National Park, WA

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Goals etc.

I love setting targets and goals and then not having to make up excuses for not reaching them

Most times we tend to set them too high, or just a little too high. This keeps us motivated and encourage us to try harder next time, or at least that’s how it works for me…

When it comes to cycling, I usually plan one month ahead, look at work and travel commitments, family stuff and try to predict the weather, not very easy when you live in the UK!

For July everything looked good, summer arrived and decided to stay for a while, which means not only good weather but also long hours of daylight and as I’m not a good sleeper I could get up early and be back just when everyone wake up. Also as Europe was entering the holiday season, I did not have too much travelling to do, giving some extra flexibility.

After a busy June, where I was able to squeeze in 645km, 55km off the 700km that I’ve set as a target, I thought that 900km for July would be challenging but maybe achievable

And today, the last day of the month, I was on the road at 06:30 and 1:15 hours and 28km later (and very wet they were!!!), I got back, stopped and looked at the odometer and was very pleased to see 1,004 km!!!

Yes, that is 104 kilometres more than what I was going to do!!!!

This is the most I’ve ever done in one month and especially after last year’s back injury, which took me off the road for 5 months, I am very, very happy with this progress!!!

And if you want to know why I do this, you can turn to my BHF Fundraising page

I do this because it is good for the body, the mind and the soul and one day it is going to help me, just like it helps thousands of others every day!

So I have to thank the great british weather and most of all to my loving and supporting family who are not only willing to put up with my hobby but who also encourage me to continue pushing!

Now the bike needs a good clean and lube and I need to continue training for the next event: Haywards Heath Howler Sportive Aug 11th

Ride safely!

Result!

This week has been so busy that I did not get a chance to stop and reflect on last Sunday’s big ride!!!!!

Some stats:

  • started in Oxford 08:15, arrived in Cambridge 13:44
  • 143.32km
  • Ride time 05:04 hrs
  • Stopped time 00:25 hrs
  • Average speed 28.28 km/h this is about 4 km/h faster than my normal average, I’d put it down to the long flat parts coming out of Oxford and approaching Cambridge, allowing me to keep an average of just over 40 km/h!
  • Fastest speed 78.96 km/h (!)
  • Total ascent 589m
  • Total decent 441m
  • Calories 5362
  • Average heart rate 137 bpm (my rule is not to go over 150 bpm even on the steepest hills)

All in all it was easier than I expected, there were fewer hills (although there were 3 big ones!) and the flat bits were fast and smooth. I’ve also managed to latch onto the tail of two guys who were flying and have given me a good tow

My family was waiting for me at the finish line, with a banner and a camera:-) and I’ve got a medal as well!!!

Training doesn’t stop here and it was only 3 days before I was riding again…this is a serious addiction!

But, the most important thing is that thanks to all our friends, we have manages to raise 485 GBP for the BHF charity!!!! This will for sure help pushing heart research in this country and bring hope to many who suffer from various heart diseases

The fundraising page remains active for another 3 months so of course you are welcome to send your donation, now that I’ve fulfilled my part of the deal:-)

http://www.justgiving.com/yayapro

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On a different note, I’ve figured out how to create a QR image for this site. You can now scan it with your smartphone and keep it as a bookmark:-)

Oxford to Cambridge in 6 hours

I have just registered for my next cycling challenge, read more about it on my fund raising page

I’ll be updating my blog regularly as I progress with the training in the next 4 months.

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First proper ride on the long way to making a 90 mile easy….did 50km today in just over 2 hrs. It was OK but I need to loose weight and train more…they say if you can do 2/3 of the way easily then you should be fine for the long one…we’ll see…